- 1 Colorectal Cancer- A Silent Killer
- 2 Types of Cancer in the Colon & Rectum
- 3 Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
- 4 Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
- 5 Stages of Colorectal Cancer
- 6 Treatment and Therapy for Colorectal Cancer
- 7 Types of Radiotherapy used in Treating Cancer
- 8 Averting Colorectal Cancer through Suitable Dietary Measures
- 9 Best Oncologist and Hospitals for Colorectal Cancer
- 10 Cost of Colorectal Cancer Treatment in India
- 11 FAQ’s
- 11.1 Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?
- 11.2 What are the early symptoms of colorectal cancer?
- 11.3 At what age should an individual undergo colorectal cancer screening if family history persists?
- 11.4 What should be incorporated in one’s diet to mitigate the odds of developing colorectal cancer?
- 11.5 What is colonoscopy?
Colorectal Cancer- A Silent Killer
Colorectal cancer, also known as Colon cancer is tumor that affects an individual’s rectum, colon, or sometimes both. Colorectal cancer is among the most widespread cancers, and inflammatory biomarkers are known to play a vital role in the development of cancer. The treatment of colorectal cancer in India is comparatively cost-effective. However, an individual’s diet, comprising red meat, refined grains and high-calorie beverages is known to be associated with increased odds of colorectal cancer both in men and women. Various studies that were conducted revealed that obese men and lean women were at an elevated risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Other factors which put an individual at the risk of colorectal cancer are smoking, alcoholism and sedentary lifestyle. Also, processed non-vegetarian meals are significant contributors. If first-degree relatives develop colorectal cancer, the likelihood a person developing bowel cancer increases. The same holds true for individuals whose genome contain genetic risk markers. Some research has also shown the potency of night-shifts associated with colorectal cancer.
As per American Cancer Society reports, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States, and thirty percent men are affected at a younger age when compared to women. The positive aspect is that other cancers, colorectal cancer is 90% treatable at former stages and can also be prevented. The 5-year survival stats for former stages of this cancer are relatively decent. However, at later stages, survival rates drop, and the odds of cancer relapse increases significantly.
Types of Cancer in the Colon & Rectum
Adenocarcinomas account for more than 95 percent of the colorectal cancers. These tumorous cells start in the cells which causes the lubrication of the mucus inside the colon and the rectum. Some of its subtypes such as signet ring and mucinous have even worse scenario.
Some of the rare types of cancer that originate in the colon and rectum are as follows.
Carcinoid Tumours – Such tumours first attack the specific hormone-making cells in the intestine.
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours (GISTs)– These cancerous cells originate from specialised cells in colon walls known as the interstitial cells of Cajal. Some are malignant, and traces of this type of cancer exist in the digestive tract, but seldom attack the colon.
Sarcomas- They originate in the blood vessels, muscle layers or other connective tissues in the wall of the colon and rectum. Sarcomas of the colon and rectum are very rare.
Lymphomas- They are cancerous-biomarkers which attack the immune system cells. The typically originate in the lymph nodes, but sometimes spread in the colon, rectum or other organs.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Some of the noteworthy symptoms of colorectal cancer are frequent abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, weight loss, uncontrolled bowel movements such as diarrhoea and constipation, extreme fatigue or anaemia. If any of the symptoms persist, one should immediately consult a doctor and should take colonoscopy screening so that early-stage colorectal cancer can be easily dealt.
Colonoscopy is a test which is taken to look inside the rectum and full length of the colon. Screening for colon cancer using colonoscopy holds potential in identifying the polyps before they mature into a big rectal tumour resulting in at an early stage of cancer. It is advisable to undergo regular screening once every 5 to 10 years following symptoms and genetic history.
Individuals take note if your family member was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, it becomes inevitable for that individual to undergo the screening ten years prior to the age at which your first-degree relative was diagnosed.
Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
It starts with the development of polyps, an atypical and often asymptomatic clumping of cells on the lining of the intestines that may mature to become tumorous.
If probable symptoms of colorectal cancer exist, then the doctor will recommend certain tests and screenings such as-
- Determining patient’s medical history and conducting a physical examination
- Blood tests
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Cancer traces
- Liver enzymes
- CT Colonoscopy or Virtual Colonoscopy
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Stool Tests
- Lab tests of biopsy samples
- Genome tests
- MSI and MMR tests
- Imaging tests to look for colorectal cancer
- Computer tomography (CT or CAT scan)
- Endorectal ultrasound
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Intraoperative ultrasound
- X-ray of the chest
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
- Endorectal MRI
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
- PET/CT scan
Stages of Colorectal Cancer
The different stages of colorectal cancer are as follows:
Stage 0: Medically termed as carcinoma in situ, this stage cancer originates in the innermost lining either of the colon or rectum or sometimes both.
Stage I: The first stage involves the growth of the tumorous cell into the inner wall of the colon or rectum, but the tumour is not matured and can easily be treated.
Stage II: The second stage tumour enters deep into the wall of the colon or rectum. Such cancer stage invades the adjacent tissues, but the cancer cells are yet to enter the lymph nodes.
Stage III: In this stage, the cancerous spread to the adjacent lymph nodes but do not invade other parts of the body.
Stage IV: Stage IV becomes critical because the cancer is all over the body parts such as lungs and liver.
Relapse: Recurrence or relapse situation arises when cancer traces re-exist in either the colon or the rectum or even in some other part of the body after a period when the tumour could not be spotted.
Treatment and Therapy for Colorectal Cancer
If an individual has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, your oncologist will discuss the various treatments options. There are various methods to treat colorectal cancer, the treatment one undergoes depends on its type and stage of cancer:
Local Treatments: Local treatment is potential in neutralising early-stage cancerous pathogens in or near the colon or rectum without impacting the rest of the body.
Systemic Treatments: This approach involves administering drugs into the bloodstream and destroying cancerous cells in the body. Considering the stage of cancer, various types of treatments may be combined or may be used one after the other.
Surgery: Surgical treatment is very popular among patients but should only be performed when all the options are closed for the patient.
Colonoscopy: This procedure involves removing a small malignant from colon or upper rectum using a colonoscope. Some small tumors which develop in the lower rectum do not require colonoscope and can be easily removed through the anus.
Laparoscopy: Laparoscope, a thin, light tube which is used for removing the colon cancer. Three out of four tiny incisions are made into the abdomen, and the surgery is performed laparoscopically. The tumour along with a portion of healthy colon as well as adjacent lymph nodes are removed. However, the rest of the organs and intestine are checked if any cancerous traces exist or not.
Open surgery: This surgery involves making a big cut into the abdomen, and hence the tumour, a portion of healthy colon or rectum and adjacent lymph nodes are removed.
Chemotherapy: The treatment involves exposing the patients to anticancer drugs so that cancerous pathogens are destroyed. The drugs are directly administered in the bloodstream via a vein or may sometimes be administered through the mouth and destroy the cancer cells that are spread all over the body.
The side effects include redness of the skin on the palms of the hands and feet. Sometimes, the skin tends to come off. These side effects will persist till the patient is undergoing the treatment.
Biological Therapy: Biological therapy involves treating the colon cancer through a monoclonal antibody, thereby showing potential in binding to the colorectal cancer cells and stalling the growth of the cancerous pathogens. Alongside this therapy, sometimes patients are also made to undergo chemotherapy.
The side effects of the therapy include fever, rashes, puking, abdominal cramping, bleeding, diarrhoea, fluctuation in blood pressure and change in breathing patterns.
Radiation Therapy: Popularly known as radiotherapy, this therapy involves exposing the patient to high energy rays so that the cancer cells are destroyed.
Types of Radiotherapy used in Treating Cancer
External radiation: Radiations dispensed via a linear accelerator, this radiation therapy requires patients to undergo therapy for five days every week for several weeks.
Internal radiation/implant radiation/brachytherapy: A radioactive material is placed in thin tubes, and the material is directly exposed to the tumour area. After the radiations, a patient must stay in the hospital for some time until the implants are good to remove.
Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT): This type of radiation is given alongside surgery.
Radiotherapy to abdomen and pelvis may include side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea, bloody stools, vomiting or urgent bowel movements and urinary infections. Radiation is very exhaustive therapy and hence demands rest.
Averting Colorectal Cancer through Suitable Dietary Measures
The association of an individual’s diet to the odds of colorectal cancer has been backed by various research studies conducted. An individual should incorporate a pesco-vegetarian diet, comprising fruits, vegetables and a moderate amount of fish in their diet to keep colorectal cancer at bay. This dietary intake was linked with a 45 percent mitigated risk for colorectal cancers when compared to a diet dominated by red meat.
A diet comprising high amounts of fibre has proved to be promising in enhancing one’s digestive system, thereby eliminating the time that wastes travel via the colon as the waste contains carcinogens which negatively affects the intestinal cells. Fibre-rich diet also helps in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels and helps in improving symptoms of haemorrhoids. A Mediterranean-style diet comprising whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil and addition to seafood alongside regular exercising is potential in lowering the odds of developing colorectal cancer. As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure, and hence it is important for an individual to stick to it.
Best Oncologist and Hospitals for Colorectal Cancer
Some of the renowned oncologists who have performed ground-breaking surgeries are as follows:
- Medanta Medicity, Gurugram- Dr Adarsh Chaudhary
- Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket- Dr Dinesh Singhal
- Artemis Hospital, Gurugram- Dr Giriraj Bora
- BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi- Dr Deep Goel
- Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram- Dr Vinod Raina
- Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram – Dr Rahul Bhargava
- Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket – Dr Rahul Naithani
- BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi- Dr Amit Agarwal
- BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi- Dr Dharma Choudhary
Cost of Colorectal Cancer Treatment in India
Colorectal cancer treatment is comparatively availed at a lower cost in India. The cost of undergoing surgery for removal of the cancer is USD 8000. Radiation therapy costs near about USD 5000, and the cost of chemotherapy per cycle is USD 500. Colonoscopy’s cost is approximately USD 500.
The cost of availing colorectal cancer in India also depends on various other factors.
- Your choice of hospital
- Preference of the oncologist
- The grade and severity of the cancer
- Post-surgery expenses
Science has revolutionised in designing minimally invasive procedures for tackling such cancers. However, further research and clinical trials are required for developing efficient drugs for the patients who are prone to developing colorectal cancer, particularly those with a strong biological history of the disease, and the ones who had a history of multiple polyps and chronic intestinal inflammation like colitis.
If you are struggling with colorectal cancer, send us your query, and team Medmonks will help you avail the treatment at an affordable cost and schedule your appointment with the best oncologists in India. Our team believes in delivering gold standard of services to the patients both in India and overseas.
Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?
Men and women who are 50 and above are at elevated equal risk of developing colorectal cancer. Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps are also at greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. Even Individuals with the history of inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease) are at a greater risk.
What are the early symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer is linked to symptoms such as rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping, change in bowel movements, anaemia or loss of weight. Take a note that colon cancer is silent and may be associated with any symptom.
At what age should an individual undergo colorectal cancer screening if family history persists?
If your first-degree relative has had colorectal cancer, one should be vigilant and should indulge in preventive measures to keep cancer at bay. He or she should undergo regular screening for colorectal cancer. One important aspect to be kept in mind is that if your relative developed colorectal cancer at the age of 50, then one should undergo screening at the age of 40 and after that he or she should be screened frequently.
What should be incorporated in one’s diet to mitigate the odds of developing colorectal cancer?
A diet rich in fibres and roughage is incredibly good for the digestive system. Consumption of highly-processed foods such as red meat, bacon and sausages has been linked with causing inflammation in the intestines, thereby putting the patient at the risk of colon cancer. Incorporate a Mediterranean-style diet which includes whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil and include fish, fruits and greens in your diet alongside regular exercising for lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.
What is colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a test which scans the inside of rectum and colon. This test potentially enables the oncologists to spot the polyps which can further mature into cancerous pathogens. Colonoscopy mitigates the odds of developing colon cancer by 90 percent. If you have a family history and symptoms persists, one should undergo colonoscopy once every 5 to 10 years.